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Pirelli P Zero racing report

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Pirelli Tire North America Motorsport is supporting two of its race series on the road this weekend – The Volkswagen (VW) Jetta TDI Cup and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.  The Jetta TDI Cup is heading into its second race weekend of the 2009 season at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah; and the Verizon Festival of Speed presented by SPEEDCOM for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 gets underway today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California; both series run exclusively on P Zero racing tires and Pirelli is providing on-site service and support at both events this weekend.

 VOLKSWAGEN TDI CUP

This weekend’s Miller event will be a single-round race for the TDI Cup, and will be held on Miller’s 2.183-mile West Course.  Rookies Joey Atterbury and Jake Thompson split the race wins at VIR.  Positive reports about the new Pirellis poured in from competitors and Volkswagen officials alike after the first two rounds of racing at VIR last month.

“The Pirellis felt great,” said VIR Race 2 winner Thompson, who was victorious in his first ever weekend of racing cars.  “The tires were actually really consistent all through the race. Today was a little hotter than yesterday, so it was maybe a touch more challenging, but they were so consistent, and that is all you can ask for.  Despite the temperature, the Pirellis didn’t go away.  I was amazed and they held right through to the end.”

VW Jetta TDI Cup driver Jake Thompson has been racing and winning championships in go-karts in his native Canada since he was 13, but 2009 marks his first year in cars – on and off the race track.  The Vancouver native has never owned a street car and his experience racing cars consisted of 2009 TDI Cup try outs and a pair of practice sessions in a borrowed Acura Integra in Canada just prior to his VIR debut.

“Even when I got my driver’s license I have driven a rusty pick-up truck for the last seven years,” Thompson said.  “When I tried out for the Jetta TDI Cup - that was my first weekend in a race car.  We got four sessions there and then I rented a car back home and did about 30 laps and then went to VIR.”

“Our new second-season drivers have a talent level that surpasses last year and the car’s performance on the Pirelli tires this year is phenomenal,” said Clark Campbell, Motorsport Manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc., about the debut weekend at VIR.  “I credit a lot of that driver skill on the track to the new tire.  We are so pleased with the Pirelli and its durability. Performance and grip on the track has really allowed the drivers to focus on their skills.  We had clean races with no caution flags and I think Pirelli has been a big part of that.”

Volkswagen officials were also pleased with the initial weekend performance of the Pirelli P Zeros on the VW Jetta TDIs.

In the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, Josh Hurley of Cooper City, Florida is in first place with 260 points; Liam Kenney of Sterling, Virginia is second with 255 points; and Mark Pombo of Duluth, Georgia is third with 234 points. 

GRAND-AM ROLEX SERIES

Pirelli Tire North America partner Chip Foose will be the Grand Marshal of this weekend’s Verizon Festival of Speed presented by SPEEDCOM, Round 4 of the 2009 Rolex Series schedule.  The race will be Foose’s first Grand-Am Rolex Series event and is just another step in what has been a successful relationship with Pirelli and a life-long passion for all things related to the automotive culture.

Foose and Pirelli have also been in the news lately after the announcement of the Chip Foose-Pirelli Edition Ford Flex Giveaway that will be conducted throughout the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season.

“I had been talking about doing a program with Pirelli, so I built that Flex for the Pirelli booth at SEMA and we debuted it there last November,” Foose said.  “Then Pirelli got back to me and said Grand-Am wants to tour it.  I said ‘Wow, that’s cool – can I go to a race?’”

Fans can participate in the contest by watching Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series races on SPEED this season. During the race broadcasts a special Pirelli Prize Word will be shown on camera; prompting viewers to visit the contest website at www.grand-am.com/foose to read the official contest rules and enter the Pirelli Prize Word(s) for a chance to win the Pirelli Edition Ford Flex.  Contest rules are also available at participating Pirelli Tire dealers across the country. Fans from the first two races have been chosen so far – Jerry Peak of Virginia and James Colavita of New Jersey – as winners of the first two qualifying contests, and will travel to the Grand-Am Rolex Series season-ending event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, October 10, where one lucky fan will be given the key to the custom car!

 SERIES STANDINGS Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series

In the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series championship standings, No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley teammates and Rolex 24 at Daytona winners David Donohue and Darren Law lead with 88 points heading into the Laguna Seca race.  Virginia winners Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty and the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley team are second with 84 points and No. 12 Verizon Wireless/Penske Racing Porsche Riley and drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas are third with 79 points.

In the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT championship, TRG Porsche GT3 driver Spencer Pumpelly is alone on top of the standings with 89 points.  Dirk Werner and Leh Keen and the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche GT3 team and the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R team and drivers Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell are all tied for second at 86 points.

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